CLEVELAND — If you have spent enough time living in Cleveland, you know about the magic of Sokolowski's.
For nearly a century, Sokolowski’s University Inn in Tremont has catered their Polish restaurant to the working man and business person. They have all sorts of legendary comfort-food favorites such as salisbury steak, chicken paprikash, stuffed cabbage, and of course, their classic mouth-watering pierogi.
And it's not like Sokolowski's University Inn is a secret. In 2014, the restaurant received the prestigious James Beard “American Classics” Award.
Celebrity chef and Cleveland-native Michael Symon listed Sokolowski's University Inn as one of his go-to restaurants to Food & Wine Magazine in 2016.
Now Food & Wine has ranked Sokolowski's University Inn No. 2 in its list of the best cafeterias in America. Here is what they wrote:
For nearly a century now, the Sokolowski family has been feeding Ohio’s second largest city all the chicken paprikash, pierogies, and kielbasa it can possibly eat, which apparently is a lot—three generations in, and one of the most loved restaurants in the Midwest shows no sign of slowing down. Boasting a great location on the south side of the Cuyahoga River, looking back towards the downtown skyline, in some cities this might be an upscale steakhouse, a place to celebrate a major real estate deal, or perhaps an engagement. In Cleveland, it’s a modest tavern where people line up, as long as they have to, for their trip down the cafeteria line, eyes often always bigger than their stomachs. (Portions are considerable.) Any time is a good time, but if you come Friday nights, there’s not only a guy behind the piano, there’s the weekly fish fry as well, that long-standing Great Lakes Catholic tradition. (Here it’s beer-battered perch, freshly liberated from Lake Erie.) There are all sorts of ways one might be gently introduced to Rust Belt culture; a trip to Sokolowski’s is the full immersion, more like a face plant, a face plant in a lake effect snowdrift. You may never wish to come up for air.
Only the Cleburne Cafeteria in Houston ranked ahead of Sokolowski's University Inn.
Food & Wine did the list because, in their words, "Each year, more cafeterias disappear, or begin their slide towards the inevitable, but for every bit of bad news, magic somehow continues to break out."
We're happy that magic continues to happen every day in Tremont.